Do you know these common soccer terms?

John Miller

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About This Quiz

As the World Cup draws closer, soccer fans around the globe are gearing up for a season of excitement. How much do you know about these basic soccer terms?

In soccer, both teams want to score _____.

Both teams do their best to kick the ball into the opposing team's goal. The result is one point, which in many cases is all it takes to win the match.

What's the term for controlling the ball with one's feet?

Dribbling is the single most basic soccer skill, in which players control the ball with their feet. Agile players can dart to and fro around the field while dribbling, leaving frustrated opponents in their wake.

What's the name of the player that defends the goal?

The goalkeeper (or goalie) is the last line of defense against an attack. The best goalies are virtual walls, making it nearly impossible for the opposing team to score.

Who are the players that try to stop attackers from scoring goals?

Defenders, of course, are meant to thwart offensive attacks. Teams equipped with the best defenders win many, many games.

If a player accidentally kicks the ball into his own team's goal, it's called _____.

An own goal is one of the most head-shaking acts in soccer -- it's when players accidentally knock the ball into their team's goal, resulting in a point for the opposition.

What does it mean if a defender is "marking" a player?

In man-to-man defense, a defender is assigned to guard (or mark) a specific opponent. He might tightly (closely) mark that player, or he may mark him loosely, giving him a bit of cushion.

What does it mean to "bend" the ball?

Great attackers can "bend" the ball so that its flight curves. This is a great way to arc the ball towards the goal in hopes of scoring.

Any illegal play is called _____.

Any illegal play is called a foul. Fouls have different consequences depending on their severity.

What's it called if a player tries to take the ball away from another player's feet?

When defensive players attempt to take the ball away from another player's feet, it's called a tackle. There's a fine line between a clean tackle and a foul.

What happens if a player is given a "red card"?

A red card issued for a serious foul (or after two yellow cards). It means that that the player has been ejected from the game.

How does each soccer match begin?

As with American football, a soccer match begins with a kickoff. Then the game begins in earnest.

What's a "bicycle kick"?

A bicycle kick (or scissors kick) is when a player throws his body into the air and swings his legs up high to kick the ball. It's one of the most spectacular and difficult kicks in soccer.

What's a "handball"?

A handball is when a player touches the ball with his hands or arms. It results in a free kick for the other team.

What's the term for a free kick that's taken from the corner of the pitch?

If a defensive player is the last to touch the ball before it passes the end line, the attacking team is awarded a corner kick, a free kick from the corner. Really great shooters sometimes score goals on corner kicks.

What's a "toe poke"?

A toe poke is when a player kicks the ball with the tips of his toes. Toe pokes are just one of many methods of ball control.

What's the position that plays near the center of the field?

The midfielders play in the center of the field. Midfielders are critical to both offense and defense, and as such, they are often the most athletic players on the field.

If a player commits a foul, the other team receives a ______.

Following a foul, the other team receives a free kick. Give the other team too many free kicks and you'll likely lose the match.

A "give-and-go" refers to what action?

In a give-and-go (or a 1-2), one player passes the ball, and that player immediately passes it back. The give-and-go is a common scoring attack.

What's it called if a goalie stops the opposing team's shot on the goal?

When the goalie stops the ball before it crosses into the net, he or she has performed a save. The goalie is only credited with a save if the shot would have scored a goal.

A soccer field is often called what?

In America, a soccer field is just a soccer field. In many places, the field is called the pitch.

What's the "striker"?

The strikers or forwards are the players closest to the opponent's goal. They are excellent passers and scorers, and they're obviously responsible for scoring the most points.

What term is used when players hit the ball with their heads?

The best players can "head" in the ball in accurate and creative ways. Heading can be used to pass, shoot or clear the ball away from the goal.

If the goalkeeper kicks or heads the ball away from the mouth of the goal, what action did she perform?

Clearing the ball away from the goalmouth is one of the goalie's most important jobs. But she can't just clear the ball randomly, she has to send it into a logical direction to prevent opponents from seizing the ball and immediately taking another shot on goal.

What's it called when a defensive player purposely kicks the ball to his own goalie?

Defenders often perform a back pass, when they kick the ball to their own goalkeeper. The idea is to retreat to safety for a moment before restarting a new attack.

If a goalkeeper prevents the other team from scoring the entire game, she has performed a ______.

Goalkeepers earn a shutout if they prevent the other team from scoring. Of course, the other defenders probably lent a hand to the cause, too.

What's the term for a pass that travels across the front of the goal?

A "cross" is a pass that travels in front of the goal. Goalkeepers must be at their best during crosses, which often result in goals.

What's the area directly in front of the goal?

The goal mouth is the area right in front of the goal. Goalkeepers are entrusted with the diligent defense of the goal mouth.

What does it mean if a referee flashes a player with a yellow card?

A yellow card is a warning to a player for a minor rule infraction. After two yellow cards, the player must leave the game. And then he will cry a lot on the bench.

What's the name of the boundary that runs down the long sides of the pitch?

The touch line is the boundary that marks the long sides of the field. If a player knocks the ball across the touch line, the opposing team gets possession.

What do players do if the ball crosses the touch line?

If you knock the ball across the touch line, your opponent performs a "throw in" in which he or she throws the ball back into the field of play.

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